Auto Service World
News   May 2, 2024   by Adam Malik

Can’t find talent? Why this coach doesn’t believe you

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A shop will hang on to a terrible person because the owner will convince themselves that they can’t get anyone else. They won’t fire an incompetent employee because they believe they need all the help they can get.

That’s all nonsense, according to Rick White, president of 180Biz, who coaches automotive repair shops.

A shop owner knows who they’d get rid of when business gets slow. So if they’re not good enough then, why are they there now?

“It’s because you’re tolerating it,” White said during the presentation Business Boss Leader: From Creeper to Leader at the Mid-West Auto Care Alliance’s Vision and Hi-Tech Training Expo in March.

And you’re tolerating it because you believe there’s no one else available out there to fill their role. But that’s just a story you’re telling yourself to justify keeping them.

While he acknowledged there aren’t as many as there used to be but “there are good people out there; they just don’t know about you, or you haven’t found the button to push to get them interested.”

As a result, shop owners won’t take action against problematic employees.

“The reason why you’re afraid to hold someone accountable, you don’t want to alienate them is because you don’t have a bench,” White said at the conference in Kansas City.

What’s a bench? Think of it in sports terms. A great team has a great bench — support players who can step up and deliver great performances and have great attitudes.

Shops don’t generally have that. Each shop needs two to three service advisors and the same number of technicians at the ready.

“The mistake we make in our industry is we are completely reactive,” White observed. “We wait until somebody leaves to find somebody to replace them, then it takes too damn long.”

Another important factor to keep in mind so as to not make hiring mistakes: Bring someone in who you know fits within your team environment.

“We are an industry that hires people for what they can do and we fire them for who they are,” White said. “And that’s because we’re hiring skill and not mindset. We’re hiring somebody to fix a car, not somebody that fits into our culture.”

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2 Comments » for Can’t find talent? Why this coach doesn’t believe you
  1. Robert Nurse says:

    What a great idea Rick, I’m going to add 2-3 advisors and technicians tomorrow to the payroll to sit at home on the bench and wait patiently until I need them. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh because I don’t operate a three billion dollar a year sports entertainment enterprise, that’s why. It is implementing ridiculous ideas like that is why so many of us like yourself are unsuccessful as shop owners in this industry.

  2. Stephen Osellame says:

    I agree that problematic employees need to be released. I also agree with hiring into a culture mindset, one established by the owner. Having a backup “bench” is impractical and a poor analogy. A think a good team is built and nurtured from the ground up, not bought.

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